This article first appeared at American Lens News on August 28, 2017.
A protest regarding the Silent Sam monument on the UNC Chapel Hill campus netted three arrests of protesters last Tuesday evening.
Protesters stayed for several hours afterward, however, two rows of barricades kept them from approaching the Silent Sam statue. By morning only a handful of protesters remained.
Antifa, Anarchists and Black Lives Matter signage and banners were seen at the march on the street near the Silent Sam monument.
The Anarchist banner seen being carried above at the Chapel Hill protest is the same as the one that appeared at the March 4 Trump rally (below) back in March in Raleigh.
The protest of the Silent Sam statue follows the toppling of a statue dedicated to fallen civil war soldiers which stood outside the Durham Courthouse for over a century.
Eight arrests were made in the Durham statue case, including multiple members of the Communist World Workers Party.
The Durham District Attorney, Roger Echols, recently made statements that he plans to ‘go easy’ on the defendants charged with the destruction of the statue. Questions now emerge on whether or not the rule of law will be upheld in the case.
District Attorney Echols remarked that he will weigh the case of destruction of public property against the “climate in which these actions were undertaken.”
Silent Sam Arrests
The Chapel Hill Police Department made one of the three arrests.
“The Chapel Hill Police Department (CHPD) arrested one male for wearing a mask on public property and for resist, delay, and obstruct. Both charges are misdemeanors. This arrest is separate from the arrests made by UNC Police,” wrote Ran Northam, Community Safety Communications Specialist for Chapel Hill.
The CHPD arrested UNC Chapel Hill student Claude Williams, age 19.
According to the arrest report, he was charged with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. Also according to the report, the “subject was arrested for preventing a police vehicle from retreating from the crowd and pushing away officers when he was told to move.”
The report goes on to say that “after clearing the crowd the van went straight to the magistrate`s office for fear of the crowd following us to the PD.”
The arrest report says that “Magistrate Jordan gave the subject a written promise and a court date of 8/24/17 at 9:00 am in Hillsborough.” Afterwards, Wilson was taken to the police station for fingerprinting.
UNC Chapel Hill Arrests 2 More
UNC Chapel Hill Police arrested two individuals at the protest. Neither of them were students at the university.
According to UNC Police Media Relations Manager, Randy Young, protester Kenny Grabarczyk of Graham (DOB 4/15/1985) was arrested on a charge of “possession of a weapon (knife) on educational property.”
Grabarczyk was released on a $1500 unsecured bond, and his first appearance at the Orange County Courthouse is scheduled for 9 a.m. on September 7, 2017.
Grabarczyk appears to be listed in the North Carolina Sex Offender registry as the result of an out-of-state conviction. Records seem to indicate that he was convicted in 2002 in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin of Second-Degree Sexual Assault.
NC State Board of Elections records shows that Grabarczyk is not registered to vote in the state.
The second arrest was Gregory Southall Williams of Durham (DOB 1/25/1990).
Williams was arrested on a charge of “wearing a mask/disguise in public (G.S. 14-12.3, Article 4A) and also “resisting/obstructing/delaying arrest.”
Williams was released on a written promise to appear a day later.
Protester Arrested Has Prior Record
Gregory Willliams has a prior arrest record from May of this year in Graham, North Carolina. A self-described “community activist”, Williams, was charged with misdemeanor resisting a law enforcement officer at the Graham protest.
Williams is a member of the Triangle International World Workers (IWW), a socialist union/labor party often known as “wobblies.” IWW believes that the “wage system should be abolished.”
The IWW engaged a group called Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County (ACTBAC) at the Graham protest on May 20th of this year.
Arrested along with Williams at that protest was Duke lecturer, Rann Bar-On. The charges included injury to personal property stemmed from a failed attempt to destroy a flag of some type.
According to Graham Sheriff Terry Johnson, Bar-On had taken down the flag before the rally had even begun, torn it from the pole and was trying to pour some sort of liquid on it. When Johnson intervened, Bar-On hit the officer with the flagpole. Bar-on’s bond was set at $11,500.
The Triangle IWW deleted their social media accounts following the protest arrests.
The IWW flag was seen being waved at a protest in Durham on August 19th. The Durham protest was in response to a rumor of the KKK coming to Durham. That rumor, as reported by American Lens as the Durham Hoax, effectively shut down a large portion of the city.
The Durham Hoax rumor was first tweeted by the attorney for the communists charged with toppling the statue in front of the Durham Courthouse. One minute later, Durham Councilwoman Jillian Johnson retweeted it. Johnson later tweeted out unconfirmed accounts of ‘armed white supremacists’ in the area.